Nov 23, 2016
Preparing to Play
Rich Zawack

Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand, also known as SAID, is the basic principle upon which all physical training is based. The most common way to use this principle is through a system called Periodization.

Periodization can be broken down into three phases: a preparatory phase, competition phase, and recovery phase.

General physical preparation is the first component of the preparatory phase. We have broken that component of Periodization down into three parts: hypertrophy, strength, and power. Within the context of each of these phases, there is a need to develop athletic attributes.

The development of athletic attributes in the general physical preparedness phase of a typical periodization leads to sports specific training. That is, specific physical preparedness.

Once a coach develops the essential physical attributes that make a person athletic, he or she can adapt those attributes to very specific athletic endeavors.

Let us say you want to develop a basketball player. The squat, the dead lift, and counter-movement jumps lead a basketball player to the skill of rebounding. Once you have developed and strengthened those abilities, you can effectively and safely transition to rebounding drills like boxing out.

Developing running speed and agility can be transitioned into dribbling, driving, and defense skills for the young basketball player. Having received the strength and coordination from the general physical phase of periodization gives the basketball player the ability to transition to defensive skills or shooting skills.

The activity of playing a basketball game is a series of learning experiences, starting with general physical preparedness and transitioning to more sport specific training, leading to the integration of this training into gamesmanship–the ability to understand how these attributes and skills fit into the game.

Asking a child who has not developed strength, speed, or agility to play a complex game like basketball is asking for failure. Few people become good this way. Those who do are truly gifted.

Competition requires general physical preparedness and specific physical preparedness.

Lots of children would like to play competitive sports. Not many can make the immediate transformation.

This puts a lot of responsibility on coaches. They need to know physiology, training, and the specific skills for their sport. They also need to be able to integrate these qualities into the structure of the game they are trying to play.

If these things are done sequentially, the young athlete has a good opportunity to enjoy and be successful at their particular game.

Rich Zawack, BS, MA, CSCS-D, has served as president of Athletic Development Corporation for the last 10 years. Prior to that he was a high school teacher and coach for 36 years at Strongsville (Ohio) High School. He has coached 17 state champions, one NCAA champion, 18 NFL football players, and one NBA basketball player.

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